Our Bareback Adventures

 

I hope everybody is having a fantastic start to 2018 with their horsey friends! I feel I should start this blog by rewinding to the warm sunny days of summer, which was when I wrote my last blog. I mentioned I was going up to the British Riding Club Eventing National Championships on my friend’s horse Dooley. 

 

Ella

I had only ridden him four times and never been cross country with him. Well, amazingly the team only went and WON it, and Dooley and I also managed individual 4th in our arena. It was an incredible weekend and so much fun!

 

Down to earth with a bump

Following this incredible high, I landed with an almighty thump after my boy Barney and I didn’t manage to qualify for the Badminton Grassroots Championships, following an unfortunate pole down in the show jumping. It was gutting since we had worked so hard to give it our best shot, so I would be lying if I said I wasn’t followed everywhere by a raincloud afterwards! 

 

I think the best thing to do after a knock is to refocus, so I decided that I needed to pick myself up and remind myself why we all ride in the first place – for fun! I stumbled across the schedule for a local show jumping competition, held at the prestigious Hickstead All England Showground – only this one had a twist, since they had a bareback class! Having always been one up for a challenge and needing a new objective, I entered myself and Barney without a second thought. With this being such an unusual competition, I saw an opportunity to raise some money for charity – and in total I managed to raise £207 for the RDA! Not only this, but Barney and I had such fun training for it, and he flew round at the competition to WIN — the video can be found on the Harry Hall Facebook page. It’s worth watching with the volume up for a laugh!

 

The win turned out not to be a one off, as Barney and I then had our first  (long awaited?) dressage win, followed by another win show jumping (with a saddle this time), and getting the best dressage in our class at a combined training competition. Our youngster Dilly was enjoying herself as well, coming 2nd at her second ever one day event – clearly the horses were on a mission to prove themselves!

November and December were very quiet months for us, as we were working on our kitchen and I was busy revising for mock exams, but it was good for the horses to have a break from competing and focus on training for a while.

 

Ella Lucas

Swampy fields

As all riders know, to say it’s difficult with horses at this time of year would be an understatement. At home we’re lucky to let ours out during the day, but it does mean our fields now resemble swamps! To help prevent boredom, I’ve been teaching my two tricks again. They love working out new ways to earn treats, and it’s brilliant for keeping their brains active. Here you can see Dilly is very proud of her ‘smile’ trick, great for checking the condition of her teeth ;)

 

This year, Barney and Dilly have started up competing again, bringing home a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place across two competitions, qualifying us for three championships already, so we’re off to a good start! I will also be competing for my riding club, with hopes of reaching the national championships for dressage, show jumping and eventing again, but hopefully with my own horses this time around.

 

A crammed diary

Balancing A-level studies, employment and horses among working out future plans such as university is no easy feat – as all people my age know! But my top tip for combatting this is to invest in a weekly diary. I write down what I’ve done with the horses each day, and what I want to work on in the next session. This means I never have to worry about remembering what I have or haven’t done, and it’s great for tracking their progress. Sometimes I even manage to schedule in a social life!

 

What I’ve been wearing

My favourite product of this month (and probably for every month from now on!) has been the Harry Hall riding tights. I have them in both black and navy; they’re so comfortable and such high quality too. I’ve used them for everything, from bareback training to dressage lessons, and couldn’t imagine riding in anything else!

 

With love, Ella and Barney x